September 24, 2003
Raynoff, Press Secretary -- (212) 720-3471
PLAN FOR SPECIAL WEST CHELSEA DISTRICT AND REBIRTH OF HIGH LINE AS AN ELEVATED GREEN PROMENADE IS PREVIEWED BY CITY PLANNING
The Department of City Planning this week officially
unveiled a far-reaching proposal for the future of West
Chelsea that would provide opportunities for new residential
and commercial development and facilitate the reuse
of the High Line rail line as a 1.6-mile elevated park.
The proposed Special West Chelsea District roughly encompasses
the area bounded by West 17th and 30 th Streets between
Tenth and Eleventh Avenues.
"The Department’s initiative recognizes
the uniqueness of West Chelsea by reinforcing its premier
gallery district and encouraging development in keeping
with its diverse built character. Especially exciting
is our innovative use of zoning to ensure light, air
and public access onto the future High Line Park. We
envision that eventually people will be able to walk
from the newly landmarked Gansevoort Meat Market through
an open space network all the way up to 42nd Street,"
said City Planning Department Director Amanda M. Burden.
"We are engaged in a dynamic, collaborative process
to build on the strengths of this special community."
Among the highlights of the Special District:
- The current zoning of M1-5, which permits light
manufacturing and commercial uses, would be changed
to allow residential and commercial uses at greater
density along Tenth and Eleventh Avenues and in mid-blocks
in the northern and southern portions of the district.
The areas to be rezoned are located outside of the art
gallery district and are dominated by parking structures
and other auto-related uses. Allowing residential use
would also reinforce the existing residential presence
on Tenth Avenue.
- The existing manufacturing zoning designation
would be retained in the core of the Special District
to help ensure continued growth of the art galleries
that have been thriving there. Some 200 galleries have
opened their doors in recent years, making West Chelsea
a destination for art lovers from around the City and
- Regulations specific to the Special District
would include a mechanism to allow the transfer of floor
area from lots occupied by the High Line and immediately
to its west to designated receiving sites for new commercial
and residential development. Developers of these sites,
mostly along Tenth and Eleventh Avenues, could receive
a floor area bonus in exchange for improving and providing
access to the High Line, helping to finance the project.
- An estimated 4,200 units of new housing could
be added to the district, helping to alleviate the housing
shortage that persists in the City. The administration
is making every effort to build affordable housing in
this neighborhood through inclusionary zoning where
applicable, low-cost financing, tax incentives, and
the development of city-owned sites.
- New buildings adjoining the High Line on Tenth
Avenue would be governed by special urban design controls
which allow buildings to connect to the High Line, but
provide sufficient setbacks to ensure light and air
immediately around the High Line. The proximity of the
buildings to the High Line would also enhance safety
in the new park.
- The reuse of the High Line as a park-promenade
provides needed open space in this community, which
has one of the lowest amounts of open space in the city,
and enhances the open space network on the West Side.
- As part of an overall plan for the west side
of Manhattan, the District is designed to complement
existing neighboring character, harmonize with the existing
Gansevoort and Chelsea Historic Districts and dovetail
with the City’s plans to shape redevelopment of
the Far West Side/Hudson Yards
Although the plan has not yet entered the formal public
review process, the Department has been working closely
with the community, listening to concerns and making appropriate
modifications. A public hearing on the draft scope of
work for the project’s Environmental Impact Statement
will be held at 10 AM, October 2, 2003 at 22 Reade Street.
About City Planning
The Department of City Planning is responsible for the
City's physical and socioeconomic planning, including
land use and environmental review; preparation of plans
and policies; and provision of technical assistance
and planning information to government agencies, public
officials, and community boards.
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